10 Women To Watch At The 2016 Rio Olympics
Serena Williams and Gabby Douglas are only the beginning!
The 2016 Olympics is on its way, and there's no better way to get excited than to brush up on the awesome female athletes this year. From the swimming pool to the balance beam, here's a list of 10 women you should watch this year at the world's gold standard competition!
1. Gabby Douglas
Four years after the world's shocking introduction to Gabby Douglas in London's 2012 Olympics, she's ready to go for the all-around gold... again. The accomplished gymnast is now 20 years old with two consistent years of Olympics training under her belt. She's also the star of her very own reality show, Douglas Family Gold, that will showcase her trial and tribulations on and off the mat. The show is set to premiere on Oxygen May 25th.
2. Missy Franklin
Missy Franklin is one of the most anticipated swimmers to make it through the Olympic trials this June-July. Although she suffered some "pretty big disappointments" at the world championships last summer in Russia, she's excited for the progress she's made since then and promises an exciting Olympics season.
3. Nicola Adams
Nicola Adams just secured her place as one of the Rio 2016 Olympic boxers! She led the way through eight qualifying British boxers for her shot at the gold. Adams made history at the last game, London 2012, as the first women's Olympic boxing champion. If she takes it home again, she'll be only the second British boxer to retain the title after middleweight Harry Medlin in 1924.
4. Mallory Pugh
The USA has the longest winning streak in Olympic qualifying soccer history, and this year Mallory Pugh, 17 years old, is one of the players to thank for that. She's currently among the youngest players killing it for Team USA.
5. Tamika Catchings
Tamika Catchings, the three-time Olympics gold medalist, has been heating up the WNBA lately, and her upcoming competition in the Olympics is no different. As head of the Indiana Fever, she guided her team to playoffs for 10 straight seasons, however, this year may mark the end to her reign. In an interview with The Associated Press, she revealed that this is the year she will retire. She's going for the gold, then she's packing it up! That's how you go out with a bang!
6. Crystal Dunn
Crystal Dunn is another soccer player to look out for. She just won the Golden Boot as the top scorer at the USA Olympics Qualifying match, bringing her team to the finish line. Her opportunity to represent the team came just after she heard the disappointing news that she hadn't made the Women's World Cup team. Now she has the world on alert.
7. Serena Williams
NBD! She's only the world's number one athlete headed to defend her title in Rio de Jainero for the 2016 Olympic gold in tennis. Serena Williamsis an undeniable force, so much so that she was dreaming about her domination on the courts even as she battled through the flu during the Australian Open. She'll be defending a singles gold medal and a doubles gold medal with her sister Venus.
8. Lauren Jackson
Lauren Jackson is widely considered the greatest Aussie female basketball player ever. That says a lot, but her history says a lot more. Jackson has won silver medals three years in a row (2000; 2004; 2008), and claimed bronze in 2012. This year, she's hoping to beat out Team USA for that ultimate gold. Watch the video above to see how beast she is!
9. Yelena Isinbaeva
Russia's "first lady of the pole vault," Yelena Isinbaeva is set to make history again and make use of her name "Supermum" after all. 2012 was the last time she competed, winning her ninth senior global title. Ever since giving birth to a daughter in 2014, she has new hopes of breaking old records.
10. Federica Pellegrini
The world record holder, Federica Pellegrini, became the youngest Italian athlete to earn an Olympic gold in history at just 16 years-old in 2004. She was also the first woman to break the 4-minute barrier in the 400 meter freestyle. She held onto that record from 2009 to 2015. Twelve years after her debut, she's looking to take her final lap and hang up her swimming goggles after this year's match.